WINTER PARK, Fla. – An RBI single by freshman first baseman Evan Mondor (Rehoboth, Mass./ Dighton-Rehoboth HS) with one out in the 16th drove in junior left fielder Will Bermel (Rockville Centre, N.Y./South Side HS) with the tie-breaking run and Bentley University went on to outlast Rollins College, 4-3, in the first of a three-game series Saturday afternoon at Alfond Stadium. The 16-inning game matched the longest in Bentley baseball history.
Bermel led off what proved to be the final inning with a line drive double to right, and was sacrificed to third by junior center fielder Sean Keady (Norwood, Mass./Norwood HS). Mondor hit a hard grounder up the middle to break a 3-3 tie that had held since the 11th inning.
Sophomore righty Connor Root (Nashua, N.H./Nashua North HS), the third Bentley pitcher, retired the first two Rollins batters easily in the 16th. After an error and a stolen base put the potential tying run in scoring position, he got a strikeout on a full-count to end the game and earn the victory.
Both teams had numerous scoring opportunities during the seven extra innings with Bentley stranding a dozen, including the bases loaded in the 10th and 14th, and Rollins leaving seven, including five in scoring position.
Very early on, Bentley (2-2) grabbed a 2-0 lead. Junior shortstop Will Brennan (Locust Valley, N.Y./ Locust Valley HS) doubled and scored on a single by junior third baseman Nate Witkowski (Melrose/ Malden Catholic HS) in the second, and junior right Tom Nagy (Fairfield, Conn./Ludlowe HS) homered to right to lead off the fourth. The homer was his second of the year.
Two innings later, the lead was gone as Rollins picked up single runs in the fourth and fifth. Both came after lead-off walks, with the tying run in the fifth unearned.
Rollins threatened in the ninth, with runners on the corners with one out. Senior righty Jeff Croteau (Auburn, Mass./Auburn HS), in the fourth of his eight innings of relief, escaped with a ground ball to short and a fly ball to center.
Bentley regained the lead in the top of the 11th when senior second baseman Logan Gillis (Merrimack, N.H./Lawrence Academy) reached on an error to open the inning and Nagy followed with a run-scoring double, the RBI his seventh of the season. Rollins countered in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by sophomore catcher Evan Rivera (Orlando, Fla.).
Senior righty JP Ashline (Clinton, Mass./Acton-Boxboro Reg. HS), Croteau and Root gave Bentley quality pitching throughout. Ashline started and allowed four hits and one earned run in five innings. Croteau got through the sixth through 13th innings on 80 pitches, yielding seven hits and one run. Root, in three scoreless innings, allowed only two hits.
Five Falcons had multiple hits, including Nagy, with three, all for extra bases. Mondor, Brennan, Witkowski and freshman DH Bryan Rocha (Rehoboth, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth HS) all had two. For Rollins, senior outfielder Brandon Curson (Woodstock, Ga.) had four, including a double and triple, and both Rivera and junior shortstop Thomas Kelly (Arlington Heights, Ill.) finished with three. Overall, Bentley out-hit the home team, 14-13.
The two teams will play again Sunday at 2 pm and Monday at noon.